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The heart-stopping action of a cheetah kill is high on many a park visitor’s wish list. So it was for Bridgena Barnard, whose wildest dreams came true on Christmas Day 2009 when she saw a cheetah coalition on the hunt.

On the morning of 25 December 2009, Bridgena wished for a very special Christmas present: the chance to witness a cheetah kill. Bridgena and her family were holidaying in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, a prime destination for cheetah sightings.

On the days leading up to Christmas they had spotted a trio of cheetahs on several occasions. Bridgena had learnt that the coalition of cheetah brothers had a preferred dune for scanning their surrounds. On Christmas morning they drove out to the spot at dawn. The cheetahs were already there, just the tops of their heads peeking over the dune.

When the cheetah brothers spotted a young springbok, they set off in pursuit. One cheetah headed it off, one tripped it up and the third made the kill. Bridgena’s Christmas wish had come true.

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The final picture in the series, titled The Moment, earned Bridgena first place in the category Mammals in the 2010 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

Camera info

Nikon D700, 500mm f4 lens, 1.7 converter, 1/4000sec at f6.7, ISO1600